The Lakers’ play-in hopes are hanging by a thread, but it was impossible to detect any real urgency from the team’s performance against Dallas on Tuesday. And that poses a few questions for the “I Love Basketball” crew on this week’s episode.
The first of those questions is what happened to Frank Vogel’s defense? Sabreena Merchant and Raj Chipalu discussed the team’s failings on that end against Luka Dončić, specifically a season-long inability to trap ball handlers, which was such a key component of the 2019-20 and 2020-21 Lakers.
The next question was whether a game against the Utah Jazz can be a salve for what currently ails the Lakers, since two of the team’s best showings this season came against the Jazz even when shorthanded. The absence of LeBron James will make another win against Utah significantly more difficult this time, but maybe there’s reason to hope against an opponent that forces the Lakers to play their best lineups.
While James’ status is up in the air, Sabreena and Raj also considered Anthony Davis’ return, and if it even makes sense for Davis to come back with only seven games remaining in the regular season. Would his presence make a real impact on this Lakers squad?
And that led to the final question of this week’s episode: With the Lakers currently in 10th place, will they qualify for the play-in at the end of the regular season?
And for a short-form recap pod, check out Lakers Lowdown, in which Anthony Irwin recaps the previous day’s news and gets you ready for the day ahead in LakerLand, every weekday morning on the Silver Screen & Roll Podcast feed.